Somehow, in some way, a long time ago, a little annual plant named Peruvian daisy came from Chile to the eastern half of the United States. It is a small and insignificant plant to have traveled so far, and it probably is unknown exactly how it came. It is believed, however, to have come from Chile to Europe, and thence to the United States.
Galinsoga ciliata (Raf.) Blake.
June - September Gardens, waste places.
There it is, the little Peruvian daisy with its tiny white flowers, growing as a low weed in waste places and gardens and along ponds. The plant is weak and densely hairy, with many-branched steins and pairs of rough, toothed, three-nerved leaves. At the tops of the stems are groups of small Composite flowers - five tiny white three-toothed, petal-like rays around a tight yellow center.
There it is, in dooryards and along weedy roads and in city dumps, an inconspicuous little white-flowered Composite. But it is still a creature of minor mystery. The question of its journeys is still unanswered: when and how did Galinsoga, named for an eminent Spanish botanist, find its way from its original home in Chile or Peru, to European waysides, and then back to the New World, for miles north of its old haunt ?
Still another story in the past few years has been added to lore of Galinsoga. After the bombing of London during World War II, several plants appeared in great numbers in bombed-out ruins and burned areas. One was a fireweed, and another was Galinsoga. Someone was curious about where this little plant had come from in such sudden abundance, and what its name might be. The word "Galinsoga" was colloquialized into "Gallant Soldiers", and today in England it still retains that war-born name in memory of other gallant soldiers in the Battle of Britain.